60 Minutes/Vanity Fair: Fashion

Who's afraid of Anna Wintour or Tim Gunn? More Americans fear fashion criticism from their mates

Welcome to the 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll for March 2014. This month's poll centers on the world of fashion with all of its excellence and all of its excess. Fashion Week recently concluded in New York City and according to CBS This Morning, it drew over 200,000 people to around 500 shows while generating an estimated $865 million for the city's economy. That's a lot of sequins. In its best form, the fashion industry and its acclaimed International Fashion Weeks celebrate artistic talent, showcase successful business models and add elegance to our culture through design. In the fashion world you can't be too young, too hip, too thin or too rich. And then there is the other side of the runway, where the ultra-chic crowd of tastemakers sometimes goes a little over the top with their avant-garde wares (it's been happening since the emperor wore his "new clothes").

Fashion reporters can also get swept up in the hype as well, occasionally ascribing more cultural significance or metaphorical meaning to some of the more trendy designs than they may deserve (sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and a jacket is just a jacket).

Eye for Fashion

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Only nine percent of Americans knew that Andre Leon Talley was an acclaimed fashion editor. Eight percent guessed he was a 16th century French explorer, six percent thought it was a far, far better thing to guess he was a key figure in the French Revolution, three percent (a silent minority) cast him as an icon of the silent film era and another three percent saw him holding lions at bay with a whip and a chair. Seventy-two percent were not able to identify the larger-than-life former Vogue editor.

Personal Style

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Forty-one percent of Americans think that what they see in stores contributes the most to their taste in clothes. Next in order were what their friends wear 18 percent, what they see in magazines seven percent, their parents style six percent, TV ads four percent and what celebrities wear four percent. Twenty percent said none of the above, but it's hard to think that one in five Americans can create their own personal fashion style and taste in clothes without a little help from some of those aforementioned outside influences.

Fashion no-no

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Almost two out of three Americans would most want to send low hanging jeans to the fashion gallows. Eight percent want to break the fake glasses habit, five percent said UGG to those furry boots, another five percent said harem pants scare 'em, and another five percent would get their feet unclogged, four percent said leggings should kick the bucket and three percent would put a cap in baseball hats.

How do I look?

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Before a big night out, a third of Americans would least want their outfit to be critiqued by their spouse or significant other. Next in line would be the "queen of mean," "fashion police" woman Joan Rivers with 27 percent followed by everybody's first critic, their mom with 18 percent. Only seven percent feared that editor Anna Wintour would find their outfit "out of Vogue" and only six percent didn't think they could "make it work" with Tim Gunn.

What a disaster!

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A third of Americans said that when attending a glamorous party, their biggest fashion nightmare would be spilling their drink all over themselves as soon as they got there. Twenty-four percent said being noticeably underdressed, 23 percent said wearing uncomfortable shoes, eight percent said being noticeably overdressed and seven percent said having the same outfit as someone else. The moral of the story appears to be that it is preferable to wear an outfit identical to someone else's than it is to wear your first drink for the rest of the night.

Dress code

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Two out of three Americans would be willing to dine at a restaurant that does not allow jeans. Your grandparents might not even understand this question. While it is not at all surprising that two thirds of the country's diners are perfectly willing to "dress for dinner," it is surprising that a third of them would boycott a restaurant simply because they could not wear jeans. For generations people have dressed up to go out for dinner and although our culture has become much more relaxed about such things, certain dates, anniversaries, family parties and special occasions deserve a little class.

Age of Cosmetics

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Half of Americans would allow their daughters to start wearing makeup between the ages of 14 and 16. Twenty-two percent went a little younger (ages 11-13) and 20 percent went a little older (ages 17-18). Four percent said 10 or under and two percent said never. Parents get those dirty looks ready for your daughter's suitors.

To wear or not to wear

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When asked to choose between wearing an ascot or a fanny pack, 39 percent of American men chose the ascot, 29 percent went with the fanny pack and 20 percent said neither. When forced to choose between one or the other, American males would prefer to emulate sophisticates like Cary Grant and Fred Astaire rather than prototypical nerdy American tourists like Clark Griswold in National Lampoon's European Vacation.

What women want

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And now it's the women's turn to choose. Fifty-two percent of the ladies said they would be more likely to wear Crocs, 36 percent said a mink coat and eight percent said neither. Maybe the answers would have been different if we threw variables like; "wear to the beach" or "wear on a winter night to a party."

Intimate apparel

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Thirty-nine percent of Americans say they never go without wearing underwear, 25 percent admit to doing it at least occasionally or more often and 35 percent said they don't even know what "going commando" means.

The Price Tag

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Can this really be right? Nearly half (48 percent) of those we contacted said that the outfit they were wearing at the time cost under $50. Maybe it was late and they were all in bed wearing little or nothing. Maybe 60 Minutes needs to go under "covers."

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